American dancer and choreographer Lester Horton made Los Angeles a centre for dance at a time when most of American was focused on New York. He was greatly influenced by the Japanese performer Michio Ito and Native American cultures. One of his earliest choreographic efforts was for a 1928 pageant based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's poem, Song of Hiawatha.
In the 1930s, Horton founded his own company, the Lester Horton Dancers. At the time, it was one of the few interracial organizations in the United States. Some of the works he presented include Voodoo Ceremonial(1932) and Rain Quest (c.1935), which were inspired by non-European cultures.
Horton disbanded his company in the 1940s to start a theatre academy for dance. During this period, he created one of his most famous duets, The Beloved(1948). Alvin Ailey and Bella Lewitzky were among Horton's many students who had successful careers in dance. Other well known dancers who worked in his company include Carmen deLavallade, Arthur Mitchell, and James Truitte. Horton technique is still taught in many studios in the United States.